Dinner rolls are the perfect yeast bread for beginners! These dinner rolls are ultra soft, fluffy, and rich! They make an amazing side to pretty much any meal. Read below for the full recipe and tips on working with yeast!
* This recipe was updated with new photos 🙂
Dinner rolls hold a special place in my heart because it was one of the very first yeast bread recipe I ever made! Dinner rolls are really well known for being easy to make, so it's a great recipe to try if you're just starting out with baking and working with yeast.
There are a few things to keep in mind while working with yeast, which I go into detail about below! But it's seriously not hard to master dinner rolls. And once you check this off your list, you'll be all set to move onto all kinds of bread recipes!
Dinner rolls ingredients:
Dinner rolls are made up of a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand! To make these classic rolls, you will need:
• water & milk: the main liquids, these have to be at around 105°F to 110°F (the PERFECT temperature for yeast to grow and rise!)
• sugar & yeast: the sugar gives the yeast something to feed off to grow, and the yeast gives dinner rolls their signature softness, texture, and fluffiness!
• egg: for richness and structure
• flour & salt: for structure and seasoning
• butter: for flavor and richness! I also like to brush some on the rolls right after they come out of the oven because it makes them extra soft and rich
How to make dinner rolls from scratch!
1. Proof yeast. Whisk together water, sugar, and yeast, and set aside until foamy.
2. Whisk together wet ingredients. Combine yeast mixture, milk, and egg. Whisk to combine.
3. Add flour and salt. Mix until it starts to form a shaggy dough.
4. Add butter.
6. First rise. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover and set aside until doubled in size.
7. Divide and shape rolls. Place shaped dough into you baking dish.
8. Second rise. Cover and set aside again until the rolls have doubled in size.
9. Bake! (Optional) Brush the warm rolls with melted butter!
Working with yeast:
Dinner rolls are really easy to make, which is why a lot of people recommend starting with this recipe if you're still learning how to work with yeast! (Dinner roll dough is very forgiving) AND if you're looking for another great bread for beginners, sandwich bread is my next in line.
Dinner rolls are almost fail-proof. Practically the only way the recipe can go wrong is if the yeast isn't able to do its thing. So do look out for 2 things when working with yeast (with ANY yeast bread):
1. Expiration: Expired yeast won't bubble and foam when you combine it with warm water and sugar. So look out for that!
2. Ingredient temperature: Overly hot water/milk/butter can kill your yeast. Overly cold water/milk/butter can be too cold for the yeast to rise. It's usually not the end of the world if the liquid is too cold (it'll just take way way longer for the dough to rise, but it should eventually!). Heat is important to watch out for because, if the yeast is killed, it just won't rise at all.
Just one more thing to look out for is when you add fat to your dough. Now this won't impact your dough too much, but it doesn't hurt to take the extra step!
When you add fat (in this case, butter) to a yeast dough, it can interfere a bit with the gluten development. So I like to mix the flour into the dough until it starts to form a shaggy dough, then add the butter. This gives the flour and yeast a chance to bind before the fat comes in and makes the dough more slippery.
How to store dinner rolls:
Like any other bread, dinner rolls are best the day they're made! BUT they will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
You can also freeze dinner rolls! To freeze, cool completely to room temperature, then transfer the baked dinner rolls to a freezer bag. Push out the air and seal well. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To defrost frozen dinner rolls, you can set them out at room temperature for a few hours, or heat in your oven. I prefer the oven method because it also warms them up again (and warm dinner rolls are delicious!)
To defrost in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the dinner rolls on a baking sheet, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes, or until defrosted and warmed through.
Check out these other recipes!
• Soft Garlic Herb Breadsticks
• braided garlic bread
• sandwich bread
• buttermilk biscuits (no yeast bread!)
Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe
- ½ cup lukewarm water, between 105°F to 110°F
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 & ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry or instant yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm milk, between 105°F to 110°F
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it starts foaming on the surface. Add the milk and egg to the yeast mixture. Whisk to combine.
- Add your flour and salt to the wet ingredients. Stir together until you get a rough, crumbly dough. Add the melted butter. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it's smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.
- Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in size. Uncover the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, and shape each potion into a smooth ball.
- Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Transfer the balls of dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a bit of space to allow for expansion. Cover the dough again, and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until nearly doubled in size again. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Uncover the dough, and bake in the center of the preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. (Optional) Brush the rolls with extra melted butter while they're still warm for added flavor, softness, and shine! Cool slightly before serving.
I have all ingredients needed, but we use almond milk in this house. Will that work? I am trying to find an easy recipe and this one looks great. Have already tried 2 other dinner roll recipes and was not happy with them. Hoping 3rd time is the charm.
Hey Barb! You sure can use an equal amount of almond milk in this recipe! You will probably notice a few differences while making the bread. Most notable is that the dough may rise and bake a bit faster (depending on how much sugar is in your almond milk - more sugar will equal a faster rise and bake). Almond milk dinner rolls will also bake up paler than the photos you see here. The taste is basically identical in my experience, it'll just be lighter in color! I hope that helps and hope you like the recipe ❤️😊
My rolls did not come out fluffy or light.
They did not rise as much as they should have, and are dense.
What could be the reason?
I'm so sorry to hear the rolls didn't turn out fluffy! The two most common reasons for bread ending up dense is usually expired yeast or the temperature of the liquid in the dough.
Old / expired yeast is going to be less active or not active at all, so the dough won't rise in that case (a good indicator is if the dough smells sour).
The other possible culprit could be the temperature of the water, milk, or butter. Too hot, and it can kill the yeast so the dough won't rise at all. Too cold, and the dough can still rise but it's going to take much, MUCH longer.
Do you think one of those reasons might cover what happened?